22nd January, 2021

Indian Railways To Adopt New European Rail Safety Standards

Taking the cognizance of the increasing rail-accidents, the Indian Railways has given way to a proposal that would equip the electric locomotives with the European train protection system. The proposal would cost the centre nearly Rs 12,000-crore.  

Golden-Quad route protected

The board has given its nod to install ETCS Level-II system on the entire 9,054 km-long Golden Quadrilateral route. The golden quadrilateral route runs through four metros (New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata.) It will be made a fully accident-free corridor.

European Train Protection in India

The Railway Board recently cleared a proposal to equip 6,000 electric rail engines with European Train Control System (ETCS) Level-II. The system will help drivers to prevent rail mishaps.

Rail protection in India

The Indian Railways runs on a basic automatic train protection system. The current system is based on the ETCS Level-I specification. It provides back-up to loco pilots on a limited stretch.

The ETCS Level-I has been implemented on 342 km rail route in India. The Gatiman Express, at a speed of 160 kmph (between Nizamuddin and Agra), safely runs at this system.

How rail protection system work

In a train protection warning system, the information regarding the signals ahead -- whether it is red, yellow or green -- is communicated to the locomotive pilot on a display screen called DMI (Driver Machine Interface). 

Under the ETCS Level-I system, the information regarding the signal ahead is received periodically by the engine whenever it passes over a device called “balise”. Thebalise is fitted at certain intervals in the middle of the track.
To get the updated information, the driver has to wait to pass over the next balise.

To overcome the disadvantage of the ETCS Level-I, ETCS Level-II is now brought to India. Under ETCS–II, the status of the signal ahead is continuously relayed in the engine through a wireless radio medium. The radio system uses GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communication-Railways) network.

GSM-R is same as the mobile GSM network. It has some special features for Railway applications. The drivers can run the train more efficiently with continuously available signals. This improves the overall speed and the section capacity of the route.

The balise are no longer required with the implementation of ETCS Level-II.